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Santorini – 2 Days Is Not Enough

Posted by Kritsa Yvonne, 27 March 2006 · 1,385 views

We waved my sister and her husband off at Heraklion airport and then drove to the port to start our mini break to Santorini. We left the car in the port car park – a bargain at €3 per day and took the Minoan Lines ferry “Daedalus” that left port at 9.00 p.m.

Arriving in Santorini at midnight we were pleased to easily find a man holding a board with our name on to transfer us to our hotel. We had chosen to take an inclusive break of ferry, transfers and B&B at a very good price from Kera Tours in Agios Nikolaos. If/when we go again we would have the confidence to arrive and then find a hotel as the harbour was teeming with people selling hotel rooms.

The trip up the hairpin bends that link together to form the road was less scary than it might have been as it was dark – in day light it would have been horrendous but I guess the transfer drivers do it often enough that they don’t worry.

We had expected the hotel to be modest and so were not disappointed to be shown into a small but adequate room. Our instructions for the morning were take your breakfast from the kitchen and go up to the balcony – so we did as we were told. The WOW factor has still not worn off and we could not have chosen better if we had taken ages deciding where to stay. We were perched on the edge of a cliff looking out across the water to the volcano and if we looked down we could see several cruise ships at anchor.
We had got up early to make the most of the day but it was hard to drag ourselves away; I could have happily spent our whole visit just sitting and gazing, but I am glad I didn’t.

We were staying Firostefani a town only 1km north of the capital Thira and although the volcano looked fascinating we decided against a trip by boat to see it, at least on day 1. In fact we walked in the opposite direction towards a rocky headland that looks like a fort.

As we strolled along the small ally ways reaching “dead ends” we marvelled at the number of building clinging like limpets to the cliff edge. We soon realised that many of the pictures of Greek and Cretan postcards or calendars were in fact taken in Santorini. After a while we decided to turn towards the east to see life away from the cliff edge. This was quite easy walking as it was all down hill. When we were about half way across the island we wondered should we go on to the east coast or turn back to explore nearer the hotel. Alan had a good idea, we should go onto the coast enjoy a swim and get a bus back. So on we went, and on and on, it was further than we thought!! We eventually reached the coast and the contrast to the west coast was fascinating.

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The rock face was actually made up of the ash deposited from volcanic eruptions and it is evidently quite soft as homes have been carved out of the cliffs. Once on the beach it was like walking along barbecue coal, it scrunched underfoot but as it is quite deep and loose difficult to walk on.

Wind and rain has scored the cliff face and I imagine it is constantly being changed. The water did not look particularly inviting so we crunched along the beach heading south. Eventually we came to a small beach area with a few sunbeds and loungers plus a very welcome snack bar but with only a handful of people in the area it must have been hard to make it pay.

There was only one road leading away from the coast so it was the most obvious route to take and as it climbed up and away from the coast so did we, and up, and up and up……. By now it was mid afternoon and we were very hot and tired – were we hallucinating or was that actually an ostrich looking at us? I don’t know who was the most surprised the ostrich or us but as we took a step towards his fenced off enclosure he took fright so we only managed a snatched photo of the fence.

Shortly afterwards we had to step off the road to allow a taxi to pass en route for the coast so we cheered up, we could flag him down and get a lift back to civilisation. Although he must have stopped for a coffee the taxi did eventually come by; even though we felt we must be miles away from the hotel it didn’t take long before we were back relaxing in the Jacuzzi on the balcony sipping nice cold beers.

After watching the sunset from the balcony (I believe it is obligatory!!) we walked into the completely different world of Thira. Bright lights and bustle, fantastic atmosphere and a funny jangling ringing noise.

A string of donkeys came into sight and it was their harnesses covered in bells that caused the ringing. A great photo opportunity, but then there were more, and more and more and…. I didn’t know so many donkeys actually existed. Although we hadn’t known it we were close to the donkey taxi path used to take people down to the old port and these tired donkeys were headed for their stables and a good rest.

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After another breakfast enjoying the fantastic view from the balcony we walked back to see more of Thira. Instead of using donkey taxi we took the cable car down to the old port and chose to just sit and watch the world go by. There were small boats ferrying people to and from cruise ships and/or the volcano plus fishing boats and we were totally content. We had a picnic lunch up on the hotel balcony before being taken back to the main port to get the boat back to Heraklion. There was a 2 hour delay for some reason but by now we were so relaxed we just sat in a taverna had an ice cream and watched the world go by de ja vue.

Once the boat docked and a few cars drove off the foot passengers crowded on via the vehicle entrance. Ugh what a smell, the crush of people took a long time to clear and it was almost unbearable – still the lorry load of goats probably weren’t too happy either!
The cruise back was very enjoyable with a spectacular sunset and no feelings of regret that our short break was over. This was because we knew we would return again as there was still so much to explore plus we still had several weeks left to enjoy in Crete.

Yes we do know we are lucky!!!!

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I'm really starting to enjoy this "blog thing"! Reading the various blogs makes me feel as I've been on the trip with you all in some way, makes me curious about things - yes, I will definitely go to Santorini one day (hem, but will see Crete first!) - and all the places I won't see for a long time get on the list in my mind for when times are better for that sort of stuff. Thanks for the trip! smile.gif
Thank you for your blog of Santorini, having spent time there previously your description was so perfect i felt was with you.

Great insight thanks again.
Hello Von,

Loved your story about Thera.

If you are into reading some about the island than I can advise you to read "Voyage to Atlantis" written by John W. Mavor. It's about the theory of the Greek scientist A.G. Galanopoulos who announced a controversial theory that the volcanic Aegean island of Thera was the site of Atlantis.
This theory has been verified by archaelological and geolocical evidence uncoverd on land and under the sea by two expeditions led by James W. Mavor.

Dr. Mavor has put up a persuasive argument that he and his associatives have found a site of prime importance.

Did you know that this cataclysm of the Santorini vulcanic outburst has been ascribed to the decline of the Minoan civilisation?

If you are interested in more of this stuff than also read "The secret of Crete" by Hans Georg Wunderlich.
John Fowles ("The Magus" and the "French Lieutenant Woman") wrote about it; fascinating light thrown on the most attractive of cultures.....a real cat among the pigeons.

Take care,

Wim

Thanks for the tips re books to read - I enjoy the opportunity to discover books I wouldn't usually be aware of, but I have built up a bit of a backlog!!

I have also read that the Tsunami resulting from the Santorini explosions were responsible for the parting of the Red (Reed) Sea that allowed Moses and his followers to escape.

The horrible Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami certainly demonstrating how the Minoans could have been wiped out.

We know enough facts and history top be intrigued but little enough to keep us all wondering.

Yvonne